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Oxford Studies in Ancient PhilosophyVolume 50$
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Victor Caston

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198778226

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198778226.001.0001

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Aristotle on Truth–Bearers

Aristotle on Truth–Bearers

(p.101) Aristotle on Truth–Bearers
Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy

David Charles

Michail Peramatzis

Oxford University Press

This paper argues, on the basis of a detailed reading of the relevant texts, that Aristotelian primary truth-bearers are such items as statements, affirmations, denials, and assertions, or mental states such as beliefs, judgements, and thoughts. Only such items, it is claimed, are characterized (straightforwardly and without qualification) by the whole disjunctive phrase ‘true or false’. Some have attempted to interpret Aristotle, in broad outline, in the way the paper recommends. However, their view has been seriously challenged, on the basis of careful study of the relevant chapters of MetaphysicsΔ‎, E, and Θ‎, by those who understand Aristotle’s primary truth-bearers to be things in the external world (often taken as states of affairs). Others have suggested that Aristotle’s views on this topic are inconsistent or ambiguous. The paper argues that the key texts, carefully studied in the best manuscript tradition, actually support the view that, for Aristotle, the primary truth-bearers are statements, denials, assertions, beliefs, judgements, and thoughts. In this view, external, non-mental, or mind-independent items are not truth-bearers.

Keywords:   Aristotle, truth, falsity, truth-bearers, statement, affirmation, denial, assertion, mental state, judgement, belief, thought

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